Chemical sensitization of photothermographic silver halide emulsions

- Imation Corp.

Chemical sensitization of silver halide photothermographic emulsions used in photothermographic elements, can be effected by the decomposition of sulfur containing compounds on or around the surface of the silver halide grains, usually under oxidizing conditions at elevated temperatures. Alignment of the sulfur containing compounds on the surface of the grains, can be accomplished with spectral sensitizing dyes and appears to be particularly effective in providing strong chemical sensitization effects.

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Claims

1. A method for preparing a photothermographic emulsion comprising the steps of:

(a) providing a photothermographic emulsion comprising silver halide grains and a non-photosensitive silver source;
(b) providing an organic sulfur-containing compound positioned on or around the silver halide grains; and
(c) chemically sensitizing the silver halide grains by decomposing the organic sulfur-containing compound on or around the silver halide grains in an oxidizing environment.

2. The method of claim 1 which the chemical sensitizing step comprises reacting the sulfur compound from the decomposed organic sulfur-containing compound with the silver halide grains.

3. The method of claim 1 in which the decomposing produces HSBr which chemically sensitizes the silver halide grains.

4. The method of claim 1 in which after chemical sensitization of said silver halide grains, a spectral sensitizing dye is added to said photothermographic emulsion to spectrally sensitize said emulsion.

5. The method of claim 1 wherein said silver halide grains are iridium-doped silver halide grains.

6. The method of claim 1 wherein said silver halide grains comprise silver halide grains which are iridium doped core-shell silver halide grains and after chemical sensitization of said silver halide grains, a spectral sensitizing dye is added to said photothermographic emulsion to spectrally sensitize said emulsion.

7. The method of claim 6 wherein said spectral sensitizing dye sensitizes the chemically sensitized silver halide grains of the photothermographic emulsion to the red or infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum between 600 nm and 1000 nm.

8. The method of claim 1 further comprising adding a reducing agent to the sensitized photothermographic emulsion.

9. The method of claim 1 wherein the sulfur-containing compound comprises a ring structure having --S-- or ##STR21## within the ring.

10. A method for preparing a photothermographic emulsion comprising the steps of:

(a) providing a photothermographic emulsion comprising silver halide grains and a non-photosensitive silver source;
(b) providing a sulfur-containing spectral sensitizing dye positioned on or around the silver halide grains; and
(c) chemically sensitizing the silver halide grains by decomposing the spectral sensitizing dye on or around the silver halide grains.

11. The method of claim 10 in which after chemical sensitization of said silver halide grains, a second spectral sensitizing dye is added to said photothermographic emulsion to spectrally sensitize said emulsion.

12. A method for preparing a photothermographic emulsion comprising the steps of:

(a) providing a photothermographic emulsion comprising silver halide grains and a non-photosensitive silver source;
(b) providing a sulfur-containing compound comprising a thiohydantoin nucleus, a rhodanine nucleus, or a 2-thio-4-oxo-oxazolidine nucleus positioned on or around the silver halide grains; and
(c) chemically sensitizing the silver halide grains by decomposing the sulfur-containing compound on or around the silver halide grains.

13. A method for preparing a photothermographic emulsion comprising the steps of:

(a) providing a photothermographic emulsion comprising silver halide grains and a non-photosensitive silver source;
(b) providing a sulfur-containing compound positioned on or around the silver halide grains; and
(c) chemically sensitizing the silver halide grains by providing an oxidizing compound which causes the decomposing of the sulfur-containing compound on or around the silver halide grains.

14. The method of claim 13 wherein the oxidizing compound is present in a solution, said solution is in contact with said silver halide grains, and the chemical sensitizing step occurs at a temperature above about 20.degree. C.

15. The method of claim 14 where the temperature is between about 20.degree. C. and about 40.degree. C.

16. The method of claim 13 wherein said oxidizing compound is pyridinium hydrobromide perbromide.

17. A method of forming a sensitized photothermographic emulsion comprising the steps of:

(a) providing a photothermographic emulsion comprising silver halide grains and a non-photosensitive silver source;
(b) providing a sulfur-containing spectral sensitizing dye on or around the silver halide grains;
(c) decomposing the spectral sensitizing dye in an oxidizing environment at a temperature between about 20.degree. C. and about 40.degree. C.;
(d) adding a second spectral sensitizing dye to said photothermographic emulsion to spectrally sensitize said emulsion.

18. A method of making a photothermographic element comprising:

(a) preparing a photothermographic emulsion according to claim 1;
(b) adding a reducing agent and a binder to the photothermographic emulsion;
(c) coating the photothermographic emulsion on a substrate.

19. A method for chemically sensitizing silver halide grains comprising the steps of:

(a) providing a silver halide grains;
(b) providing a sulfur-containing sensitizing dye on or around the surface of silver halide grains; and
(c) oxidatively decomposing the sulfur-containing sensitizing dye thereby chemically sensitizing said grains.

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Other references

Patent History

Patent number: 5891615
Type: Grant
Filed: Apr 8, 1997
Date of Patent: Apr 6, 1999
Assignee: Imation Corp. (Oakdale, MN)
Inventors: John M. Winslow (South St. Paul, MN), Gary L. Featherstone (Oakdale, MN), Doreen C. Lynch (Afton, MN), James R. Miller (Hudson, WI), Sharon M. Simpson (Lake Elmo, MN), Mark C. Skinner (Afton, MN)
Primary Examiner: Thorl Chea
Attorney: William K. Weimer
Application Number: 8/841,953